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Case Study: Boston Pizza hits ‘male on the head’ with risky campaign

What’s your company’s current challenge? Identifying your marketing problem is half the work but the skill is in applying the right strategy and execution. Boston Pizza (BP) is a prime example of a marketing success story. The Canadian restaurant chain offers up a family-style dining room and a sports bar. However, the brand awareness is low in some parts of the country and, as is common with many companies, BP became mostly known for a single product.

Boston Pizza Challenge: to broaden their marketing message to a wider customer base in Canada

Campaign goal for 2011: to increase chicken wing sales by 50 per cent

4 steps to BP success:

  1. Product research and improvement: based on internal research of complaints that their chicken wings were sub-par, BP decided to focus on this item and improve their chicken wing menu offering (and include more accompanying sauces)
  2. Re-define demographics: taking a calculated risk, ad agency identified and focused primarily on males as key target audience (family restaurants usually target busy moms feeding their families)
  3. Support messaging by all new marketing campaign: Introduced fake wing critic, Carl Carlson, President of the Flatties and Drummies Association to expound on the delectable qualities of these wings
  4. Distribution channels suited to audience:  8-week TV buy with online elements aired during NFL playoffs; Facebook page

• Sales increased up 160.2 per cent after the campaign began and continued to increase
• Many locations ran out of the product
• Facebook page attracted more than 14,000 new fans during campaign
• Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund saw same-store sales growth of about 5% in 2011
• Wing sales have continued to remain at double of what they were before last year’s campaign, according to BP

The Take-Away:
Boston Pizza applied strategic marketing to generate more business. Conducting internal and market research enabled BP to identify an existing product that could be improved upon in a way that would enliven and motivate a newly defined audience base.

BTW, online ordering is now driving much of its growth with 10% of its takeout and delivery business and it’s growing. BP keeps in step – it has revamped its website for quicker and easier online ordering and a mobile-optimized version of the site is coming.

Now it’s your turn: How will you leverage your marketing tools to drive business and stay relevant in your industry?

Infuse Five works with its clients to inject smart marketing into their business programs without hiring a full time employee. Learn more about how Infuse Five can help your business, contact Sandra Hamway for a free consultation.



Marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, helps businesses and associations, across North America, grow. Focus is on innovative marketing and communications strategies. Ottawa marketing customized to fit your specific business needs.

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